On June 27, 2018, Elizabeth and I were walking around the Target Center. We had forgotten her noise-muffling headphones and the noise from the Minnesota Lynx game was getting to be a lot for her to handle. As we walked we looked out onto the corner of North 6th Street and North 1st Avenue in Minneapolis and saw a group of protestors marching past. They were holding signs that told me they were protesting the United States Supreme Court ruling on President Trump’s travel ban.
Dear reader, I have to admit, my heart broke.
I wanted to hold onto the privilege my white skin affords me to shield my child from the ugliness of our world.
But here I was, faced with what I knew my curious child would turn into a teachable moment.
Could I rise to the occasion?
The short answer is: kind of.
Elizabeth asked if there was a parade going on. Elizabeth loves parades and she was really excited! I told her it wasn’t exactly a parade, that there were some people who don’t like being around others who are different and that the people we saw were marching because they think we should welcome people who are different from us. I asked her what she thought.
She agreed—she is fascinated with different types of people. But she was also disappointed that they weren’t throwing any candy. Really, I suppose she has a point. Regardless of our racial, cultural, religious, or socioeconomic differences, we all love candy.
The fact is, this teachable moment I had with my white child is a moment hundreds of thousands of parents have had with their own children well before the age of 4.
I think that this political climate that we live in is one that our children already have the skills to teach us through, rather than the other way around. I, and parents like me, have taught their children what it means to be good and kind. They already know that we should help people who ask for help, that a soft answer turns away wrath, and that everybody loves candy.
Photo credit: Pixabay